Sabtu, 27 Mei 2017

Addicts in Serbia find Freedom in Jesus Christ

Addicts in Serbia find Freedom in Jesus Christ

By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
NOVI SAD, SERBIA (ANS -- May 19, 2017) -- Since the 1970’s Serbia has faced a growing problem with drugs and addiction.
Years ago hospitals were unable to offer much help, so in 2006 Novi Sad Christian Fellowship decided to open their church facilities for drug addicts. The chief desire was to introduce them to Christ.
mi Serbia drug addiction 05 19 2017Funding is the first challenge for the Rainbow Rehab Center program led by Danny and Vera Kuranji, who accept men and women in the rehabilitation program without a charge because they and their family members do not have funds.
“We always take the step of faith and believe that God will provide. The program lasts around 18 months and depends on how each person responds to the change that Christ can bring in their lives,” the Kuranjis said in an interview with Transform Europe Now www.ten-uk.org.
The next challenge is when someone wants to leave the program. “After a few months some residents feel that they are no longer addicted and they leave early. Often they go back to drugs. This is hard for us since we have given ourselves for them and know they are not yet ready to face life out of center,” the Kuranjis said.
Mihajlo is 32-years-old, but he is not the same person who walked into the center -- because now he is free from drugs and transformed from all that the addict lifestyle involves.
The Kuranjis said: “His parents divorced when he was a teenager and his mum left the country for a new life in Germany. By this time Mihajlo was already deep in his drug problem and living on his own in Belgrade. Somehow, he decided to stop doing drugs and for a few years was clean until he slipped back into the old habit. “Most of his former friends were no longer alive and he knew that he was on a similar path. He was desperate for change. Some friends brought him to the center. At first he was tempted to leave. All the talk about a God was so foreign to him because of his atheism! He doubted that he would ever be able to believe. He stayed and after a couple of months he asked Jesus to take over his ruined life.”
The Kuranjis said two years later Mihajlo is a changed man, and has since joined their staff in the center. “He helps other addicts to come to Jesus and follow Him, and now has a big family that loves him -- something that he never had. His life finally has a purpose.”
mi Daniel and Vera Kuranji 05 19 2017Shortly after the Kuranjis started the rehab for girls, Sofija was brought in by her father, who was unable to help her or provide accommodation. “Her husband also feared the impact on their little son watching his mother unable to function. We watched her shaking, weak, pale and lost. We knew that we had to do something. We couldn’t turn her away, and now we are so are so glad that we didn’t! Eighteen months later Sofija is a changed woman. She looks different, thinks differently, and has a bright new identity. She is a child of God, who is loved, accepted, forgiven, and free!
“I have a new wife,” said her husband. The family will soon be reunited and little 3 -year-old Filip is patiently waiting for his mum to come home. Sofija is free after 15 years of heroin addiction. She came in (to the center) depressed and hopeless, and now she is glowing and growing!”
According to the Kuranjis, all the men and women from the center attend church services and many of their family members come along as well. “The church is the family. It’s the place where those staying at the center have sister and brothers, as well as solid teaching. It’s the place where they worship God.”
They were asked what has been their personal involvement in the rehab work? “My wife, Vera and I started the ministry, and now we oversee the team and are personally involved in rehab for both men and women. We often bring them to our home and counsel them…we are like parents to them. Work with them is more than work, (it is) ministry; it is our life,” said Danny.
“Our biggest need and challenge is financial support. We always have at least 20 people in rehab for at least 16 months and they do not pay at all. Running costs for each person are more than GBP£200 (USD$260) for each month. For this we totally trust God to provide and are grateful to all that are part of His plan to provide.”
Photo captions: 1) Drug addiction is a serious problem in Serbia. 2) Danny and Vera Kuranji. 3) Michael Ireland.
Michael Ireland small useAbout the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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Are We Pandering to Millennials?

Are We Pandering to Millennials?

Are We Pandering to Millennials?
Should churches change for the sake of the rising generation? This is a perennial debate. At the Juicy Ecumenism blog, my friend Mark Tooley has given some historical perspective on why changing theology to suit the perceived preferences of the younger generation is always a bad idea. While the church should never “pander” to anyone, however, the church does have a responsibility to “cater” to those who might be making decisions about faith and the church. Such lifelong decisions are most often made in one’s late teens and early adulthood, sometime in the transition between high school, college/career, and (where applicable) marriage and parenting. Reaching and retaining that rising generation is a constant challenge to churches. Many churches have died because they failed to meet the test.
Reaching the rising generation involves three main factors. Liberalizing one’s theology is not one of them—in fact, point #1 is the opposite strategy.
1. Offer the transcendent, compelling message of the gospel. Ordering one’s life around faith and the church requires considerable sacrifice. Therefore, people have to see why church is so compelling that they would bother to get out of bed on Sunday morning. Moralistic pabulum and vague niceties don’t cut it. Pastors and teachers need to constantly trumpet the shocking claims of the gospel. Our sin has put us in jeopardy of hell. God became incarnate as a man, Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross so we could be forgiven. He rose again bodily to defeat death. He reigns forever now with the Father. These are historic, bracing truths of Christianity, and they compel a response of adherence, for those with ears to hear.
2. Bolster the families of the church to woo the rising generation, including the up-and-coming “Generation Z.” The healthy church has a missionary mindset, but the church’s children are its number one God-given mission field. In spite of dire warnings to the contrary, children who grow up in functional, churchgoing families are quite likely to embrace and practice their parents’ faith as adults. Parents must learn to model the Christian faith, and to talk about it intelligently and lovingly with their kids.
3. Don’t sanctify the cultural manifestations of Christianity of a bygone era. Christianity is incarnated into specific times and places, and it can and does adapt to the culture of rising generations. (We can argue later about whether the qualities of certain cultures are less hospitable to genuine Christianity than others.) Can churches today succeed who insist upon 1950s methods and styles (no email! 1st and 4th stanzas from the hymnal!)? Yes, I am sure they can, but why let the culture of previous generations dictate your strategies today?
Getting a Twitter account and providing WiFi at your church is not going to win the adherence battle alone. But refusing to adjust methods and style can become an additional barrier to reaching the rising generation. Churches should adopt a generous, outward-focused attitude toward young people who are making faith and church decisions, and “cater” to the forms of communication that speak to them.
“Pandering” to the rising generation suggests modifying the historic message of Christianity to suit contemporary ideology. As many churches and denominations have found out to their peril, doing this is not faithful. Ironically it does not work to recruit and retain young people, either. But as long as the compelling message of Christian orthodoxy remains in place, there certainly is justification for “catering” to the rising generation. “Catering” implies serving, and serving is a Christian virtue.
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This article originally appeared here.

Why You Should STOP Being “On Fire for Jesus”

Why You Should STOP Being “On Fire for Jesus”

Why You Should STOP Being
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? —Jeremiah 17:9
Christians love clich├ęs. Maybe the one you’ll hear most often, especially amongst youth groups, is being “on fire.” But is that just something we say, or does it actually mean something? Before this steps on too many toes, I need to be clear that I don’t consider using this term a sin or anything of the sort. What I am asking is simple: Is the phrase, and the accompanying attitude, biblical, or something less than that?

What It Typically Means to Be on Fire

You’ll hear this phrase plastered on the A-list Christians. Most often, people will be referring to the ones who:
– Donate millions or are moving overseas
– Sing loudly at church
– Post their devotionals on Instagram often
– “Feel God’s presence” a lot (or talk about it, at least)
– Have just gotten back from summer camp and are on their spiritual high
However, as much as we may hate to admit it, being on fire really just comes down to feeling.
Feeling like you are good with God. Feeling like the singing at church is awesome, feeling like prayer is really going well in your personal life. Feeling like you are close with God.
Are any of those things necessarily bad? No.
Does our relationship with God, and the vitality of it, often produce emotion in us? Yes.
Does our relationship with God, and the vitality of it, necessarily produce the same positive feelings in us all the time? No.
And that’s the rub. Yes, if I am living my life in obedience to Jesus, in worship of him, and striving to grow in His grace, then I will have the positivity that often comes along with it.
But by no means does the Bible tell us to gauge our spiritual lives solely (or even primarily) based on our feelings. It’s a reality in the Bible that we will go through seasons of pain, doubt, failure, feebleness and loss. Not every second of our lives will be exhilarating, news-worthy, record-breaking happiness and excitement. Most of the Christian life is radically ordinary.
This leaves the standard of “being on fire” less a biblical encouragement and more of emotional legalism. Why?

Because the Bible Never Says It

It’s true. The Bible never refers to Christians (mature ones or new ones) as being on fire. It never commands Christians to be on fire. As a matter of fact, most people in the Bible that have fire in or around them are normally under judgment.
Most likely, people use this term as an off-shoot of the happening at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descends as “tongues of fire” on the apostles, signifying the authenticity of their message and that the presence of God dwelt in man, no longer in a temple building.
Beyond that, the term has closer ties to counterfeit Benny Hinn revivals than it does to an explicit scriptural reference.
So at best, we are making up our own term and shoving it into the context of Acts 2. At worst, we become emotional Pharisees commanding others to “feel on fire” when the Bible doesn’t command it. We may not think of that as legalism, but it’s at least a mild form of it, as we’re measuring other people’s maturity in relation to a subjective, non-biblical standard.

So What Do We Do?

We do what the Bible tells us to do: We measure our standing with God by what we know to be true, not by what we feel is true.
That’s where Jeremiah 17:9 comes in. Our hearts are deceitful. They will be wrong. They will have feelings that are incorrect. They are not the authority for life: God and His word is. We can have great feelings and emotions during worship on Sunday while we still are casual with sin in our lives. Conversely, we can feel broken while at the healthiest spiritual place possible (c.f. 1 Peter 5:6).
This is really the point of Romans 1-8 and the entire book of 1 John. Truth determines how we live, not what we determine in our own feelings. In particular:
For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart… —1 John 3:20
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. —1 John 5:13
We will falter. Our faith will be weak at times. Our affection for God will go through ups and downs. But the Bible never says that we ought to question the validity of our faith based solely on feeling on fire. John writes these things so that we may know.
The Bible tells us that we must know. Truth is more important than feelings, even good feelings of being on fire. Besides, if we base our assurance of a relationship with God on how we feel the connection to be, we will be left in despair more times than we can count.

Assurance Comes From Knowing

Assurance of salvation comes from what we know. We must know God. We must know what he has done. We must know that those in Christ stand permanently justified before God. We must know that He loves His children even while we struggle and come back in repentance over and over and over again.
Because we are saved by looking to Jesus, we receive assurance by looking to Jesus. Even more so we find all our joy and fire in looking to Jesus. Not our own feelings.
Jesus Christ is the anchor for your soul. He is unchanging, and unwavering. Not you. Lean on Jesus, not your feelings. Lean on His work, not your religious fervor and stamina. Find joy in His perfection, not your ability to feel good.
The mark of a mature Christian is not the perfect, unceasing intensity of their faith; the mark of a mature Christian is the knowledge of God and the reliance on the perfect, finished work of Jesus Christ.
 This article originally appeared here.

How to Speak to Graduating Students About the Future

How to Speak to Graduating Students About the Future

How to Speak to Graduating Students About the Future
Spring in youth ministry is a funny time. The teenagers have matured but the nearness of summer injects an extra-squirrel factor—a monster-drink infused buzz that begs for summer swimming and up all night video game marathons. At the same time, quieter moments are happening. Braces are flying off teeth like pancakes off the griddle at IHOP, and you see your once wild 6th graders walking calmly into youth group. Our 8th grade guys now know that they don’t have to break into the ball closet, they need only to ask for the key…or ask us if they can break into the ball closet (smile).
While so much has changed, not much has changed.
And we are endeared.
For the last 12 years, the middle school and high school students in our ministries have needed the same thing.
The proof exists in salutatorian and valedictorian speeches. The proof exists in award ceremonies and grad nights. The proof exists in end of year parties and teachers who read poems to their graduating pre-schoolers. The proof exists in tears, in laughter, in celebrations and in quiet trepidation.
In college (at the beginning and end of the year), our chaplain would engage us in a transition tradition. It made a difference to me as a student and stood out as a defining moment in my senior year—so much so that I’ve emulated him and carried it with me into youth ministry.
  • At the beginning and end of the school year
  • At the last day of youth camps where I speak
  • At the start or end of a retreat
What’s the recipe for a great transition in ministry? When students cross from children’s ministry to youth. When they take giant leaps of faith. When a particularly stretching experience draws to a close.
Somewhere in your conversations, in your talk, in your group or gathering…
  1. Define the relationship.
  2. Speak words of truth to them, in love.
  3. Give thanks and give grace for the past.
  4. Celebrate the future together. (Give them a preview before it happens.)
Let’s put some flesh on these transition to-do’s.
At our last “regular” youth service of the school year we asked our 6th graders to stand.
I give them a healthy non-romantic DTR. They started out physically smaller…I share that while there have been some areas to grow, the truth is that they are growing. And that is awesome. We are thankful for those moments and we don’t hide them but relish them as gifts. We celebrate them as official 7th graders and remind them of their responsibility to love and encourage the new ones joining us soon because they literally walked in their shoes this year.
We ask the 7th graders to stand. They were the filling to one great Oreo cookie this year. Not the youngest, not the oldest, they held our littlest and our largest together with consistent determination. Even though they might be responsible for the new rear projection system in our gym…we now have a new rear projection system in our gym. They’ll be the leaders next year, the younger students will look to them for cues on how to live and how to act. We count on them to lead us in the fall in their gathering, in their growing and in their serving.
We ask our 8th graders to stand (and we pause for the wildest of cheers). We celebrate the short time when their lives felt like a crazy accordion of emotion and physical growth. We look at the pictures of them on their first day of youth group and laugh when the picture morphs into people who are six to seven inches taller. We thank them for being human, for being vulnerable, for being leaders. We launch them into a new chapter where they’ll find themselves feeling young again (and that is a good thing!). And then we pray over them—and promise to walk with them as they continue to grow in their faith, in their families and in their deep friendships with each other.
I love this time of year. It’s a wonderful reminder that our calling is eternal. Noticing the teenagers in our ministry, speaking truth to them and over them in love, giving them traditions that serve as tangible reminders that we are growing in Christ, these are all a part of the ebb and flow that is youth ministry…such a joy-filled calling. So much fun. So very sacred.
Thoughts:
Do you speak to your students with the future in mind?
How do you speak truth to them in love when they transition into and out of your ministry?
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. —Ephesians 4:15 NLT
This article originally appeared here.

The Way This Pregnant Teen Was Treated at Christian School Points to a Problem With Being Pro-Life in Word but Not Deed

The Way This Pregnant Teen Was Treated at Christian School Points to a Problem With Being Pro-Life in Word but Not Deed

pro-life
Maddi Runkles is an 18-year-old high school senior who is about to graduate from her private Christian school with a shining record—on all but one point. Runkles is pregnant and has been forbidden from participating in her school’s graduation ceremony.
Runkles says she is being treated unfairly compared to other students who are in violation of the code of conduct at Heritage Academy in Hagerstown, Maryland. “They’re seeing my actions as worse because there’s a visible consequence to it,” Runkles said. “They can see the result of my sin, but I don’t think that means I need to be treated worse just because you can see what I’ve done.”
Speaking to the Blaze, Runkles says she found support from her evangelical Christian parents and church earlier this year when she found out she was pregnant. Her school, however, had a different reaction.
Runkles was suspended from school for two days while the school board discussed whether she should stay at home for the remainder of the school year. At the time, Runkles’ father, Scott, was the head of the board; however, he recused himself when it came to his daughter’s case. According to the New York Times, he has since quit the board altogether after witnessing how his daughter was treated.
Runkles’ story likely wouldn’t have made it into the New York Times if she hadn’t gotten the ear of Students for Life, a pro-life group that agrees with Runkles that the school’s decision is unjust. Kristen Hawkins, president of Students for Life, says the decision is not graceful or loving. Further, Hawkins believes Runkles should be applauded for her own decision to keep the baby: “She made the courageous decision to choose life, and she definitely should not be shamed.”
Hawkins appealed to Heritage Academy administrator David Hobbs on Runkles’ behalf. Hobbs and the school remain unmoved as of yet. In a written statement sent to the New York Times, Hobbs writes of Runkles’ pregnancy as “an internal issue about which much prayer and discussion has taken place.”
Here is the crux of the issue with Runkles and the way her school has treated her situation: It’s not very pro-life of a Christian school to marginalize her for deciding to keep her baby. Where is the support and grace for the person who knows they have done something wrong but has decided to do what’s right moving forward?
“Some pro-life people are against the killing of unborn babies, but they won’t speak out in support of the girl who chooses to keep her baby,” Runkles told the New York Times. “Honestly, that makes me feel like maybe the abortion would have been better. Then they would have just forgiven me, rather than deal with this visible consequence.”
One of the critiques of the pro-life movement has been the expression of concern for the baby in the womb while the mother appears to be villainized for her poor choices. Even if the mother is not villainized, there is still a lack of care for single mothers or birth mothers who choose life and their children.
In other words, sometimes it’s one thing to say you are pro-life and another thing to act as if you are pro-life. Isn’t this what Scripture (James 1:27) tells us to focus on in our religious expression: the caring of widows (i.e.: single mothers) and orphans?
There is a difference in being pro-life in word and being pro-life in deed.
Megan Briggs is a writer and editor for ChurchLeaders.com. Her experience in ministry, an extensive amount of which was garnered overseas, gives her a unique perspective on the global church. She has the longsuffering and altruistic nature of foreign friends and missionaries to humbly thank for this experience. Megan is passionate about seeking and proclaiming the truth. When she’s not writing, Megan likes to explore God’s magnificent creation.

Hi Ho Silver or Let Us Bow Down in Worship?

Hi Ho Silver or Let Us Bow Down in Worship?

Which will it be?
By Kenneth D. MacHarg, Missionary Journalist, Special to ASSIST News Service (Writer’s Opinion)
Preaching in Cowboy ChurchCARROLLTON, GA (ANS – May 27, 2017) -- An article in the local newspaper highlights a new church forming in our town. It’s a “Cowboy Church” which caters to those who either are or dream of becoming a cowboy or cowgirl.
Nothing wrong with that. Churches are finding great success in leading people to the Lord by targeting specific interests and serving a niche clientele. After all, the majority of churches that Polly and I have served have focused primarily on expatriates and third-culture people.
And this one does just that. “You have people that have never owned a horse or gun but they sit and grew up watching Bonanza and the Lone Ranger,” the paper quoted the new pastor as saying. “If you’ve got a Western or country heart, then the…Cowboy Church is the place for you.”
That sounds fine, as far as it goes. But what really got my attention was the statement that the service “will end with a gunfight reenactment.”
Wait a minute. A gunfight reenactment? I’m sure the folks at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina would want to see that. Or, perhaps not. One of their services ended with a gunfight a few years ago that left nine people dead.
Gunfight reenactmentNow, this isn’t a launch into the gun-rights debate, though there may be some hints here and there.
It’s more a concern about what worship is all about and the blatant misuse of entertainment in what should be a God-focused experience, not people-focused.
For the life of me, I cannot understand how a reenactment of a gunfight has any place in a service of worship.
Lest we forget, the audience in our worship is the Lord, not the congregation. The actors (worshippers) consist of the people in attendance, and the direction of the action is Godward, not human oriented.
Baptism at Cowboy ChurchFrom the opening prayer to the Bible readings, the praise music, hymns, readings, the preaching of the word, the time of commitment, the baptism, the sharing of communion, the closing prayer and benediction, all are elements of worship that are directed toward God and designed to please Him and only Him.
When we dilute what we do with distractions, interruptions, and, yes, entertainment, when we finish the service with something other than a focus on God and his saving power through Jesus Christ, we are missing the whole point and are attempting to please ourselves rather than worship our powerful and almighty Lord.
From Psalm 96:1 we read: Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
That does it, powerfully, honestly, and completely. We don’t need anything else than that.
Photo captions: 1) Skipper Calder mixes horse training and Bible readings to deliver his message at Cowboy-Up Ministry. This is its old site in Lithia. (Photo: http://www.tbo.com). 2) Re-enactment recreation of classic Old West, 1800s Western gunfight 3) Baptism at a Cowboy Church. 4) Not too many Cowboys in Hong Kong where Kenneth D. MacHarg is pictured here.
Ken MacHarg in Hong Kong smallerAbout the writer: Kenneth D. MacHarg has served as the pastor or interim pastor of nine International Congregations in seven countries outside of the United States. He can be contacted by e-mail at: missionaryjournalist@gmail.com
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Benghazi Battle Vet Helps the Forgotten Soldiers

Benghazi Battle Vet Helps the Forgotten Soldiers

By Alex Murashko, Special to ASSIST News Service
Mark Oz GeistORANGE COUNTY, CA (ANS – May 27, 2017) -- After recovering from severe wounds while defending lives at the Battle of Benghazi, former special operative contractor Mark “Oz” Geist, chose to serve his country in a different way by establishing the Shadow Warriors Project (https://shadowwarriorsproject.org/).
Geist, who also co-authored the book “13 Hours: The Inside Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi”, which later became the premise of a movie, recently had the opportunity to talk about the project with Every Man Show radio hosts Kenny Luck and Anthony Dever.
Leading into Memorial Day Weekend
Geist, whose interview on the show aired in three parts this week beginning Wednesday (May 24, 2017) on KKLA 99.5 FM in Los Angeles, said the project is his “way of continuing service” to Americans.
“Ninety percent of us in the military are there because it’s our sense of service, and that service can continue,” said Geist, who also served in the Marine Corp for 12 years. Private security contractors, unlike military personnel, do not have a workman’s comp policy. “The day I left Benghazi, which was the morning of the 12th, my pay stops. It’s not like in the service where if I get injured I still get paid, get benefits and all that. I get nothing.”
Max Martini play Mark Geist in 13 HoursHe explained that there are 270 U.S. diplomatic facilities around the world. “There’s contractors at every one of them,” he said. “Since 2001, we’ve lost almost 5,000 contractors killed and almost 30,000 injured. That’s a lot of people who have sacrificed for this country and they need to be taken care of.”
Shadow Warriors Project founders, Geist and his wife, Krystal, said the foundation is dedicated to the support of private military security contractors, conducting paramilitary security operations in some of the world’s most dangerous areas. “It is the only charity of its kind,” they said. “Although the private security contractor has served in the military he is considered a civilian and does not receive the same support offered to injured active military or veterans.
“We want to take care of the families,” said Geist during the Every Man Show interview. “We want to help the wives because in many cases they become the primary caregiver. We also do college funds for the children.”
The founders add, “We are a foundation that has been formed because of events that have taken place throughout the world where men have so bravely and anonymously offered their own life for the lives and safety of others.”
13 Hours Book coverGeist, who was contracted by the U.S. to help protect diplomatic personnel inside Libya, not only gave the show hosts a detailed account of the Battle of Benghazi in which he was hit and wounded by three different IEDs landing within 15 feet of him, but shares how his survival and that of others could only be described as divine intervention by God.
Geist, known by his fellow warriors as “Oz,” gave remarkable details of the battle from his perspective, one that includes being part of the Global Response Staff (GRS) that was told to “stand down.” While Oz and the team were unable to save the lives of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three others, many lives were saved on the night members of Ansar al-Sharia attacked the American diplomatic compound and CIA annex in Benghazi.
Untold Benghazi story: Something more than sound bites
Kenny Luck at his churchEvery Man Show host, Kenny Luck, said he was excited for listeners to hear from Geist, firsthand, something more meaningful than sound bites often driven by political spin.
“What differentiates this interview from most coverage the public has seen or heard reported about The Battle of Benghazi is the discussion of the transcendent ‘meta-themes’ of freedom, sacrifice, and the high cost of liberty in any form,” Luck said. “In today’s culture, events such as Benghazi get chopped up and parsed out to the media hyenas which, in turn, gets over-politicized and sound-bited.
“The book and the film go a long way to uncover and reveal what happened but this interview affords listeners many moments where the transcendent philosophical and spiritual themes are allowed to burst through in a truthful and refreshing way,” he said. “When you watch the mainstream media there is a little voice inside that is dying to be heard—that voice is saying ‘You are missing the big ideas!’ This interview satisfies at that level.”
The Every Man Show, produced by One Ten Pictures (http://www.onetenpictures.com/), airs on KKLA 99.5 Los Angeles on radio and through its website (http://kkla.com/) Monday-Friday 10:30 to 11 pm. The interview with Mark “Oz” Geist aired Wed-Fri, May 24-26.
To watch a video about what happened in Benghazi, go to https://shadowwarriorsproject.org/the-story
Photo captions: 1) Mark “Oz” Geist. 2) Max Martini plays Mark “Oz” Geist in “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” 3) Book cover. 4) Kenny Luck, co-host of the Every Man Show. 5) Alex Murashko.
Alex MurashkoAbout the writer: Alex Murashko is currently working with One Ten Pictures as its Story Producer, developing and working on projects that include stories about people and organizations making a difference in this world. He previously was a Church & Ministry Editor/Reporter for The Christian Post. He also worked at the Los Angeles Times Orange County Edition and at the Press Enterprise in its Southwest Riverside County bureau. He can be contacted by e-mail at: alex@alexmurashko.com.
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please also tell your friends that they can receive a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above website and signing up there.

Kicking the Can Down the Road or Working Toward a Solution?

Kicking the Can Down the Road or Working Toward a Solution?

 
By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (jeremyreynalds@gmail.com )
 
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.  (ANS-May 27, 2017) -- A homeless encampment in Downtown Albuquerque is drawing concern. Starting with tents, it appears to now be primarily individuals gathering after about 9 p.m.  daily to “crash” for the night.
 
A piece aired by KOB TV 4 on the issue drew this response from mayor’s chief of staff Gilbert Montoya. 
 
JJ illustration“What we do provide and the services, they're not handouts, where you can just go in and continue this lifestyle with free room and board. You have to actually change your lifestyle and work toward what you want to overcome.”
 
Writing on Facebook, Jackie wasn’t impressed. 
 
“Mayor Berry's solution every time.. Give them a week to find a job, that no one will hire (them for) because they have no identification, address (and some have records and mental illness) overcome their addiction in one week, find a place to live with no job to pay for it and if they don't, then he makes the city throw away the little belongings that these people have.”
 
There’s also concern about the homeless gathering at the New Kimo Park near I-40 and San Mateo in Albuquerque.
 
It’s filled with trash, shopping carts and drug paraphernalia. One local news affiliate said it also provides a haven for the homeless.
 
A property owner behind the park is at the end of his wits, telling KOB TV, “I think closing down the park permanently would be great. But on a temporary basis at least for a year or so, fence it off, get it cleaned up (and) get this area cleaned up a little.”
 
I have sympathy for the property owner and his tenants. It's not a good position to be in. However, the solution apparently being proposed is to kick the proverbial can down the road. These folk will go somewhere, but the question is where? 
 
The ultimate answer may be outside the ability of City Hall to solve. One thing for sure: NIMBY, or not in my back yard, is not a solution. 
 
When I posted the KOB piece on the Downtown camp on Joy Junction's Facebook page, and my own personal profile, I asked for comments. A number of people responded. Most were very kind and thoughtful, but there were also a number of unbelievably cruel and callous ones.
 
Here’s an example. Clifford said, “What about Darwinism? The antithesis to organized religion? Shouldn't they just die? Their genes eradicated? Now I know that is extreme and I know I don't want people to suffer, but ... ”
 
Brad commented, “So scripturally speaking, all of Solomon’s wisdom about idle hands is just gibberish? If you are able bodied, it is YOUR responsibility to provide for yourself and those entrusted to you. And that doesn't mean panhandling and begging or mooching off of others good will.”
 
Dan’s post was shocking. He said, “I'm a very strong believer of only helping those who are willing to help themselves. It's all about who and what we choose to serve. Either a higher or a lower vibrational frequency. What Joy Junction is doing is good charity work, but it's not the highest level of work because you are helping out so many who don't even care about helping themselves.”
 
He continued, “Because if they don't value life this time around, then they will be given the opportunity once again in their next lifetimes. It's just not guaranteed (the homeless) will come back as humans, and will more than likely come back as worms or cockroaches since that is the appetites they are choosing to serve this lifetime around.”
 
Here are some more encouraging (and reasonable) responses.
 
Samee said if we want to see a decrease in the homeless population, then we must change healthcare policies and provide long term inpatient mental health services. “A huge portion of these people are simply unable to care for themselves.”
 
Joanna said desperate people needing help can’t be left out on the streets.
 
Gina commented that many homeless people have mental health issues. Asking them to change is just not realistic, given everything else with which they have to contend.
 
Ben CarsonHousing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson quite shockingly said that poverty is a state of mind.
 
“You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they'll be right back up there. And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bottom.”
 
And back on Facebook, Connie had a more reasonable answer. She said, “Some people will always need help. We cannot leave those people. It could be me.”
 
So will you be a person who keep kicking the homeless issue down the road, or someone who wants to make a lasting difference? We would love to hear from you if you fall into the latter group. 
 
Photo captions: 1) Joy Junction illustration. 2) Ben Carson. 3) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
Jeremy and Elma Reynalds very latestAbout the writer: Jeremy Reynalds, who was born in Bournemouth, UK, is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. One of his more recent books is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. His latest book, Two Hearts One Vision, is available at www.twoheartsonevisionthebook.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife, Elma. For more information, please contact Jeremy Reynalds at jeremyreynalds@gmail.com.
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